July 29, 2006 (Mount Washington, B.C.) – Neal Kindree (BC, Kona-Les Gets), Mical Dyck (AB, Terrascape), Emily Batty (ON, Team R.A.C.E.) and Francis Morin (QC, Equipe du Quebec/Devinci) were named Canada Cup Champions today at the final race of the series at Mount Washington, B.C. on Vancouver Island.
The event showcased exciting Elite women’s and men’s races that featured local Olympians Kiara Bisaro (BC, Team R.A.C.E.) and Geoff Kabush (BC, Maxxis). Bisaro won her race, while National Champ Kabush finished second in the men’s event.
New Brunswick’s Matt Hadley (NB, Rocky Mountain-Business Objects) had a hot first lap, leading the charge over favourites Kabush and Max Plaxton (BC, Rocky Mountain-Business Objects). Plaxton then moved into the lead, followed by Kabush in second, with Hadley in third. It was then evident that Plaxton was carrying more speed than the rest of the field and he began to steadily move away and would eventually take the win over Kabush by nearly 3.5 minutes over five laps.
On the third lap, Kindree, who had dropped his chain early in the race, made his way up the field into third spot. The most exciting battle became the one for fourth between Hadley, Kris Sneddon (BC, Kona-Les Gets) and Eric Batty (ON, Team Ontario). Batty edged out the other two, followed by Sneddon and then by Hadley, who had flatted.
Alison Sydor (BC, Rocky Mountain-Business Objects) attacked hard on the first climb of the four-lap women’s race, powering up the steep fire road with a slight gap on her chasers. Bisaro fought her way up to Sydor in the first half of the race and then made the winning pass that would stick. Bisaro’s gap on second place, Sydor, was 1:26 at the finish. The race going on behind the first two was also a tight one, with Wendy Simms (BC, Kona-Velo Bella) and Catharine Pendrel (BC, Norco) duking it out for the last medal position. After an early advantage from Simms, Pendrel reeled her challenger back in and steadily pulled away from her, with the Norco rider taking the bronze medal. Canada Cup winner, Dyck, finished fifth behind Simms.
Bisaro was thrilled at her win on home turf. “It was great to win here at home,” she said, adding “I wasn’t feeling very confident going into it.”
The Junior Expert Men’s race saw a small rider turnout, with only five riders on hand, minus the series leader. Local Vancouver Island rider Jeff Clarkson (BC, Aviawest-Vega) of Victoria rode to a decisive victory, finishing four laps over six minutes faster than second place, Paul Benson (MB, Team Manitoba). Kyle Kennedy (BC, Independent) of West Vancouver was third.
Batty dominated the Junior Women’s field of three in the three-lap race. She was over 14 minutes faster than second place, Lauren Hughes (BC, Team Squamish). Danielle Dornik (BC, Team Squamish) finished third.
The cross country course was a big hit with racers. The loop held at Mount Washington Alpine Resort at around 1,200 metres of altitude featured alpine scenery and a variety of terrain, including technical, rooty, twisty singletrack (made a little slick by a rain shower yesterday evening), fast fire road sections, rocky drops and steep climbs.
“This was the best course of the Canada Cup [Series],” said Frederic Bussieres (QC, Rocky Mountain-Business Objects), who placed eighth in the Elite Men’s competition.
“It was an awesome course,” agreed Hadley.
“It was definitely the most beautiful course,” commented Pendrel, referring not only to the fantastic trails, but also to the stunning backdrop of snowy peaks, alpine meadows and lakes.
The lack of competitors was noticeable in all categories, which was disappointing to many riders, considering it was the Canada Cup Finals. Many suggested that the fact that riders no longer have to attend the Finals as part of their overall result in the series had something to do with attendance. The best four out of the five races in the series count towards the overall ranking. Last year was the first year that riders were not required to participate in the final to receive a series ranking.
Another suggested reason as to why numbers were low was due to the fact that racers were required to take a 1.5-hour ferry ride to get to Vancouver Island. The ferry fees are high and the process is quite time-consuming.
2006 Canada MTB Cup XC Overall
Emily Batty (ON) Team R.A.C.E.
Francis Morin (QC, Equipe du Quebec/Devinci)
Mical Dyck (AB) Terrascape Racing/Trek
Neal Kindree (BC) Kona/Les Gets/Sole/Team Squamish